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The rain is wonderful.  The sun is great.  We especially love it when it rains hard like it did yesterday and then is sunny and warm like today.  The grass seemed to grow two inches!  We spent the day outside as much as possible, with various degrees of sunburn to prove it. 

We have new layer hens this year.  They are only about 14 weeks old now, so they are adolescents.  About half of the flock are roosters, destined for the tables of Cook’s House in Traverse City.  The hens should start laying sometime in June.  Even though the neighbor we’re getting eggs from lets her hens roam, it’s always nice to have our own.

The Mangalitsa pigs, true to form, didn’t mind all the mud and puddles.  They were sunbathing their wooly, black, mud encrusted bodies with obvious contentment.  If a pig could grin, they’d have had ear to ear smiles as they sprawled in their holes.

The couple of Muscovy ducks we still have loved the mud, too.  They don’t swim, but they love to muck about in the mud. They earned the names Drake and Jemima Puddleduck, after the Beatrix Potter characters.

The garlic Mark planted last fall is coming up wonderfully.  We’ve been enjoying the garlicy flavor of the shoots.  Interspersed are the field peas he planted last fall.  Those make a tasty addition to our spring salad.  The plentiful dandelion greens mixed in make an interesting bowl of greens on the supper table.  The only thing missing is the leek greens.  We haven’t had time to go dig leeks yet, but hope to this week. 

Last, but not least, the chickens.  They almost got out on pasture last week, but the waterers needed some repairs.  In the meantime, they are growing by leaps and bounds and filling up the clearspan building.  They still get alfalfa greens, but will finish out the next two-three weeks on pasture.  The grass is nicely up now.  We were walking yesterday and observing the deeper green and thicker cover of the areas that had tractors on them last fall.  The grass and clover in particular, more than the alfalfa, seemed to respond.  It really is a great system.  The more we learn about permaculture, the more we realize how we have that cycle going with the chickens.  Nothing goes to waste and all parts somehow benefit the farm system.  Looking forward to having them out in the tractors, though!

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